Stadium engineer 'a scapegoat'

A southern building contractor is defending a city design engineer, saying he's been made a scapegoat for the collapse of Stadium Southland.

Yesterday, Milne Building Contractors director Neil Milne accused the Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (Ipenz) of scaremongering after it called for all work done by Anthony Stanley Major to be checked.

Major had been made a scapegoat, hung out to dry for a chain of events that was not down to him alone, Milne said.

"Him" implied that Major himself was the chain of events.

"I'm not pointing the finger at anyone in particular. They just need to stop and look outside the square and work out why this has happened through the process.

"It doesn't happen just by poor design."

Milne had worked on several projects with Major during the past 30 years and these were all still in one piece, he said.

Major designed and observed the construction of the original Stadium Southland, which collapsed in 2010 after a snowstorm.

Ipenz expelled Major for breaching its code of ethics and said any work done by Major should be checked.

Ipenz chief executive Andrew Cleland said Major was removed from the chartered professional engineer register in May 2011.

This had nothing to do with the stadium collapse, but was because they did not believe Major met the required competence standards, Cleland said. A spokesman for Major said he did not wish to comment yesterday.

While southern council bosses were checking building records, they also urged people not to be alarmist.

Queenstown Lakes District Council chief executive Adam Feeley said the council was aware Major had worked on two buildings in the district, but did not appear to be involved with any "major council buildings".

It would be wrong to be complacent about the issue, but it would also be wrong to be alarmist, Feeley said. "He's been involved with engineering buildings for 25 to 30 years and there aren't buildings collapsing all over the district."

Invercargill City Council staff are searching through about 7000 paper records for work Major had been involved with prior to 2011.

Council chief executive Richard King said all building consent producer statements signed by Major had had to be peer-reviewed since 2011, when he ceased to be a chartered professional engineer.

Southland District Council acting chief executive Bruce Halligan said the council had so far identified 280 buildings that Major had worked on.

Most were low-risk, such as dairy sheds and dwelling alterations, but the council was taking the issue seriously, Halligan said.

Gore District Council chief executive Stephen Parry said his council was also aware that Major had worked on several projects in the district.

However, the fact Ipenz had found there to be significant shortcomings in Stadium Southland did not automatically mean there would be shortcomings in these buildings, he said.


The Institution of Professional Engineers New Zealand (Ipenz) confirmed that it had investigated two members in relation to the collapse of Stadium Southland.

This week it announced it had expelled Invercargill design engineer Anthony Stanley Major as a member because he breached their code of ethics.

Yesterday, Ipenz chief executive Andrew Cleland confirmed it had also investigated Harris Foster consulting director Maurice Harris, who peer reviewed the sagging trusses on the stadium.

However, the institution found Harris had acted as he should have, Cleland said.

Harris had been employed to review and point out any shortcomings with the design, which he had done, he said.

Harris declined to comment yesterday.

No-one else was investigated by Ipenz in relation to the stadium collapse, and there would be no further investigations unless a new complaint was laid, Cleland said.

The Southland Times